August 15, 1846
I will cover you with love when next I see you, with caresses, with ecstasy. I want to gorge yu with all the joys of the flesh, so that you faint and die. I want you to be amazed by me, and to confess to
yourself that you had never even dreamed of such transports... When you are old, I want you to recall those few hours, I want your dry bones to quiver with joy when you think of them.
Gustave Flaubert, famous French writer, to his wife Louise Colet.
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) wrote this letter to Charlotte von Stein Goethe and is regarded by many as a German literary genius. In 1774 he wrote the popular Die Leiden des jungen Werthers (The Sorrows of Young Werther), which caused a sensation. From 1775 on he lived in Weimar, where he met and fell in love with Charlotte von Stein, inspiration for the heroine of his play Iphigenie auf Tauris (1787) and Natalie in his Wilhelm Meister novels. In 1808 he produced the first part of his most famous work, Faust.
June 17, 1784
My letters will have shown you how lovely I am. I don't dine at Court, I see few people, and take my walks alone, and at every beautiful spot I wish you were there.
I can't help loving you more than is good for me; I shall feel all the happier when I see you again. I am always conscious of my nearness to you, your presence never leaves me. In you I have a measure for every woman, for everyone; in your love a measure for all that is to be. Not in the sense that the rest of the world seems obscure tome, on the contrary, your love makes it clear; I see quite clearly what men are like and what they plan, wish, do and enjoy; I don't grudge them what they have, and comparing is a secret joy to me, possessing as I do such an imperishable treasure.
You in your household must feel as I often do in my affairs; we often don't notice objects simply because we don't choose to look at them, but things acquire an interest as soon as we see clearly the way they are related to each other. For we always like to join in, and the good man takes pleasure in arranging, putting in order and furthering the right and its peaceful rule. Adieu, you whom I love a thousand times.
To Adele Foucher
When two souls, which have sought each other for,
however long in the throng, have finally found each other ...a union, fiery and pure as they themselves are... begins on earth and continues forever in heaven.
This union is love, true love, ... a religion, which deifies the
loved one, whose life comes from devotion and passion, and for which the
greatest sacrifices are the sweetest delights.
This is the love which you inspire in me... Your soul is made to love with the purity and passion of angels; but perhaps it can only love another angel, in which case I must tremble with apprehension.
Victor Hugo (1821)
My beloved angel,
I am nearly mad about you, as much as one can be mad: I cannot bring together two ideas that you do not interpose yourself between them.
I can no longer think of anything but you. In spite of myself, my imagination carries me to you. I grasp you, I kiss you, I caress you, a thousand of the most amorous caresses take possession of me.
As for my heart, there you will always be - very much so. I have a delicious sense of you there. But my God, what is to become of me, if you have deprived me of my reason? This is a monomania which, this morning, terrifies me.
I rise up every moment saying to myself, "Come, I am going there!" Then I sit down again, moved by the sense of my obligations. There is a frightful conflict. This is not life. I have never before been like that. You have devoured everything.
I feel foolish and happy as soon as I think of you. I whirl round in a delicious dream in which in one instant I live a thousand years. What a horrible situation!
Overcome with love, feeling love in every pore, living only for love, and seeing oneself consumed by griefs, and caught in a thousand spiders' threads.
O, my darling Eva, you did not know it. I picked up your card. It is there before me, and I talk to you as if you were there. I see you, as I did yesterday, beautiful, astonishingly beautiful.
Yesterday, during the whole evening, I said to myself "she is mine!" Ah! The angels are not as happy in Paradise as I was yesterday!
Honore de Balzac, French writer, to Evelina Hanska, a Polish countess, June 1836.
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